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Top 5 courses for human rights journalists

Journalists are often at the forefront of the fight for human rights, breaking stories of human rights violations as they happen or investigating and exposing violations of human rights. All journalists have the potential to use their work to help hold states and duty bearers to account. In this article we have collected 5 top-quality courses aimed at human rights journalists, that are offered by leading universities.

University of California, Berkeley: Writing for Social Justice (United States)

Founded in 1868, University of California, Berkeley remains one of the United States most prestigious Universities, currently ranking 13th according to World University Rankings 2020. Writing for Social Justice invites you to discover how to bring about social, political and personal change through persuasive, powerful writing. The 4 week, instructor-led course requires no prior qualifications, and will equip learners with vocabulary, persuasive writing styles, guidance on evidence based writing as an essential element of persuasive arguments and an introduction in where and how to publish your work. Sign up to join the next intake of the course.

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University of California, Berkeley: Journalism for Social Change (United States)

Journalism for Social Change, the second course in this list offered by University of California, Berkeley focuses on solution-based journalism, a form of journalism that gives equal representation not only of issues, but also of potential solutions. Over the course of 4 weeks, you will explore the different ways in which journalism and media can be used as a tool for social change, strategies to transform you into an effective change agent and how reporting your work can drive positive policy solutions. The course provides a strong basis for you irrespective of the issue you want to work on and provides case studies of outstanding solution-based journalism. This course would be particularly helpful for those journalists and activists looking to effect change at a policy level.

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The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg: Activism and Citizen Journalism through Media (South Africa)

University of the Witwatersrand is an internationally ranked and research-focused University in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the forefront of a changing society, Wits is a social leader, dedicated to advancing the public good. Activism and Citizen Journalism through Media, a 4 week, self-paced course, is a back to basics journalism course with a heavy focus on using media as a tool to promote and strengthen social justice. From identification of newsworthy issues to understanding the limits and possibilities of a variety of mobile platforms and tools, this course will help you identify the ideal strategy, platforms and/or tools to try and reach your target audience, a vital consideration when writing to defend and promote human rights. In addition, the course also covers how to apply ethical and safe media practices as part of your work.

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University of Michigan, Storytelling for Social Change (United States)

The University of Michigan founded in 1817 as one of the first public universities in the United States brings the course Storytelling for Social Change for another time on edX, with over 17,000 learners currently enrolled! The course will take approximately 5 weeks to complete and requires no prerequisites to take part. Throughout the course, you will learn how storytelling can be a powerful method to deliver messages that connect with audiences and shape attitudes .You will explore how empathy and belief systems affect your audience, how you can harness the power of stories to create social change and how you can develop a strong protagonist and incorporate multiple perspectives into your stories for social impact. Throughout Storytelling for Social Change you will watch video interviews from experts in storytelling, see performances and start writing your own story for social change.

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University of California, Berkeley: English for Journalists, Part 1 & Part 2 (United States)

English for Journalists Part 1 & Part 2 is sponsored by U.S. Department of State and is offered by University of California, Berkeley as part of U.S. Department of State’s MOOC Camp. English for Journalists provides instruction in the English language for students of journalism and working journalists looking to improve their English proficiency. Part 1 focuses on key topics that are an essential to journalists worldwide from ethics in journalism, inclusive journalism, local vs global journalism and citizen journalism. English vocabulary, idioms and grammar are also explored. You will discover current issues facing journalists globally, widen and improve your English vocabulary and grammar to increase the effectivity of your stories and learn how to communicate more effectively in interviews and reports. This course also focuses on issues of ethics, equality and fairness as applied to journalism. Part 2 covers a new set of topics, with the same focus on vocabulary, idioms and grammar. The topics covered by part 2 are as follows, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, sports writing and broadcast, humour and satirical news writing, understanding science and technology in journalism and media trends. Whilst these courses do not require any specific prerequisites, it would be important to have some knowledge of basic concepts in journalism.

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About the author

Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.